Yara International (OSE: YAR), a global leader in crop nutrition, and IBM, today announced an agreement to build the world's leading digital farming platform, providing holistic digital services and instant agronomic advice.
Yara and IBM Services will jointly innovate and commercialize digital agricultural solutions that will help increase global food production by drawing on the two companies' complementary capabilities: Yara's unrivalled agronomic knowledge, backed by more than 800 agronomists and a century of experience, and IBM's digital platforms, services and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics.
The joint global digital farming platform will apply artificial intelligence, machine learning and in-field data to unlock new insights for farmers. The digital platform will have worldwide coverage and aspires to reach 100 million hectares of farmland - which is equivalent to twice the size of Spainor close to 7 percent of all arable land worldwide* including millions of smallholder farms.
"As demand for food rises along with the world's population, the digital farming platform will play a key role in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way. The collaboration is a perfect symbiosis of IBM's capabilities in AI, big data management and blockchain technology and Yara's agronomic knowledge, farmer-centric digital innovation, and proven track record in improving farming across the globe," said Luq Niazi, IBM Global Managing Director Consumer Industries.
As a first step, Yara and IBM will establish joint innovation teams, collaborating at digital hubs in Europe, Singapore, the US and Brazil. The teams will work closely with IBM researchers to develop new capabilities, such as visual analytics and machine learning techniques for crop insights. The first services are planned for end 2019.